The sketchbook, filled exclusively with pencil drawings (with many blank pages in the second half), was brought along by the 33-year-old Friedrich Metz, who was living in Rome at the time, on a trip to Italy in August and September 1853. According to the sporadic notes on places – Metz drew at Nettuno at the beginning of August and at Ariccia at the end of September –, he wandered through Lazio on this trip. There he mainly studied trees, following in Jakob Philipp Hackert’s footsteps.
The dates that Metz placed under almost half of his drawings document that he sometimes took out his book several times a day during his wanderings to record what he saw. As a rule, he chose the landscape format for his drawings, most of which are on the recto, giving each drawing its own page. His main interest, as noted above, was with trees: studies of branches lying on the ground and leafy crowns alternate with drawings of individual trees or dense groups of trees. Metz recorded them partly detached from their surroundings, partly growing between low vegetation on a slope or on rocks and cliffs, partly integrated into often only roughly sketched landscapes in his sketchbook. Metz rarely integrated architectural elements, which he usually showed half hidden by the surrounding trees and plants. Occasionally, he drew coastal landscapes in varying degrees of detail, which extend far beyond the fold or extend over an entire double page. Towards the end of the book, some of them stand out from the rest of the illustrations due to wiped pencil sections.
See also the other sketchbooks in the Städel Museum, which Metz used in part or in full on his travels through Italy between 1848 and 1876 (Inv. SG 2821, SG 2770, SG 2758, SG 2824 as well as probably SG 2823 and SG 2825).
For a full sketchbook description, please see “Research”.
Art-technology findings and/or documentation regarding conservation and restoration are available for this work. If interested, please contact .